The Walking Dead

SPOILER ALERT! This article discusses the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ S6E3 “Thank You” as well as events in the comic book series.  If you want to avoid SPOILERS turn back now!

Social media exploded last night after the third episode of Season 6 of ‘The Walking Dead’, entitled “Thank You.”  While most deaths of major characters are foreshadowed with dramatic and lengthy character arcs, viewers were caught completely off-guard by the out-of-nowhere (apparent) death of a MAJOR character.

You were warned!

After a tense interaction with the cowardly Nicholas– the man responsible for the death of Noah last season– both Nicholas (played by Michael Traynor) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) appeared to perish.  Well, Nicholas died for certain and Glenn’s death, while slightly more ambiguous SEEMED pretty definite. Judge for yourself, if you care to revisit the incident:

Glenn Rhee Steven YeunIF Glenn really died, it is possibly the biggest character death since Andrea’s (Laurie Holden) in Season 3 as Glenn is one of only a few of the original character from Season 1 that was still alive.  (For the record, the others are Rick, Carl, Carol and Daryl.)  He’s also essentially the Mister Nice Guy of the group, as Yvette Nichole Brown pointed out on the after-show ‘Talking Dead’, Glenn is the only major character who has never killed a living person and never given up on another, not even that scumbag Nicholas.

In “Thank You”, Glenn actually defies Rick’s order to abandon the injured Alexandrians who may hold Glenn and Michonne back from reaching safety after their walker herding mission goes sideways.

But speaking of ‘Talking Dead’, the chat show seems to have tipped off fans that things are not as they seemed.  For one thing, Glenn was noticeably omitted from the “In Memoriam” clip montage that appears in every episode before the first commercial break and celebrates all of the characters, including anonymous zombie extras, that perished in that evening’s ‘The Walking Dead’.

As if that weren’t a dead (*ahem*) give away, showrunner/executive producer Scott M. Gimple provided a statement that flat out confirmed that Glenn wasn’t gone for good.  Here is the statement:

“Dear fans of The Walking Dead, this is a hard story to tell and when we were planning to tell, we knew our friends at the Talking Dead would be talking to you about it, and knowing you’d all be talking, and feeling and commiserating, I knew we should say something about it lest our silence say something we didn’t mean to say or not say.  So I’ll say this – In some way, we will see Glenn, some version of Glenn or parts of Glenn again, either in flashback or in the current story to help complete the story.”

So, somehow Glenn will pull through having fallen into a herd of walkers and seemingly being devoured.  All the people who were tweeting and Facebooking in shock, anger and sadness have something to look forward to, hopefully next week.

I, for one, am not one of those people.  Say what you will, I was impressed when I thought Glenn had been killed off.  It was (or would have been) incredibly brave of the producers.  The rule of ‘The Walking Dead’ should be NO ONE is safe.  That’s what creates drama and a real sense of danger.

But once this show went from a cult hit to one of the highest rated shows on TV, it became susceptible to the same problem that plagues everything popular– becoming safe.  Sure fans have been heartbroken over deaths in the past, but in a lot of cases you could see them coming, so viewers could make their peace before the deaths occurred on camera.

And there are certain characters that everyone just assumes are safe, like Rick, Carl and Michonne.  And Daryl?  Forget about it.  Too many toys, posters, tee shirts and so forth to sell.  Most would assume Glenn and Maggie are part of that club as well.  And creator Robert Kirkman recently revealed that the one character he can’t see killing off is Carol.  Knowing that so many characters are unkillable… where’s the suspense?  The danger?  Where’s the point of the show?

I’m actually pissed by this turn of events.  Glenn actually IS dead in the comics, brutally and graphically beaten to death by a human character not yet introduced on the show.  What does his bait and switch fake death mean?  That he’s safe for the foreseeable future.  There’s no way they’d pretend to kill him off and upset so many viewers only to say “Hey, nevermind!  He’s still alive!” and THEN turn around and kill him for real.  They’d have to twist it and maybe kill Maggie (who is still alive in the comics) instead, delivering a crushing blow to Glenn after all is said and done.

The show as it stands has too many darlings.  Too many characters that CAN’T be killed for fear of alienating viewers.  And that betrays the very premise of the show.

What do you think?  Were you among those distraught over the seeming death of Glenn?  Or did you, like me, see it as a brave and bold move on the part of the creators?  Who do you think might ACTUALLY perish this season?

Source: Cinema Blend, Deadline